mrsjperez wrote:I can't log into credit karma or annual credit report or any of those sites because there's different names and addresses with the 3 agencies and I don't know how to find out what the have or how to change them.
You need to contact each CRA separately and sort it out with each of them. The web site of each CRA should have contact info.
mrsjperez wrote:Never thought not being in debt and not having to use cards and paying everything cash on time would actually screw us over.
Don't conflate debt and credit. You can build credit without debt. Treat your credit cards as cash. You're not being screwed over. You can't build credit without using credit. You didn't understand and you didn't build your credit prior to this point. We all have to learn and work on it at some point.
That said, for things like mortgages, auto and student loans you do have to get into debt but that debt is assessed differently than debt in revolving accounts.
mrsjperez wrote:Turns out experian had my maiden name(been married 2 times so not sure how they only have that) and they have an address I recently found out is my ex mother in laws house that I have never lived at.
Generally speaking the CRA's have info that creditors report to them. The CRA's don't automatically update your name just because you got married. A creditor has to report the name change to them. Not sure how they got that address but, again, it would have been via a creditor.
mrsjperez wrote:I don't understand why it takes so long.
You need to consider it from a creditor's perspective. The consumer's track record is the best indication of the consumer's future even though it does not guarantee anything.
Who would you be more willing to lend money to? A person who has never borrowed money from you or anyone or a person who has demonstrated over many years that the person can reliably borrow money and repay it in full and on time?
Building credit takes time. You have to be prepared to be in this for the long haul. There are no shortcuts. The length of one's credit history and, more importantly, the Average Age of Accounts for an individual is a reflection of how long one has been using credit as well as how often one has been opening new accounts (considered a risk factor). Generally speaking, the longer the AAoA the better.
mrsjperez wrote:You start from 0 and every month your score goes up based on your credit handling?
Not exactly. You can't assume that you will constantly have an increasing score. Your credit is assessed on how a number of different factors all add up for you.http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/whatsinyourscore.aspx
mrsjperez wrote:Also, any recommendations on where is a guaranteed yes for card approval.
There's no such thing. Approvals, limits and APR's are all based on one's credit. The only guaranteed cards are secured cards that do not require a credit check. That said, some credit unions and store cards may have easier approval criteria.
Given what you've stated it sounds like you need to hold off on the applications. If you don't have much credit then adding a number of new accounts will be seen as risky behavior. You should also consider moving back the mortgage. I know what you've said above but, again, building credit takes time. 1 year isn't a significant amount of time in the credit world.
mrsjperez wrote:How do returns work with a credit card? I'm assuming it goes on your card again but what does that do to your score?
Credits for returns are applied against your balance. Individual transactions are not factored into your scores. Your cards typically report once a month and the reported balance is what matters. Actually it's more the utilization (balance/limit) that matters.
You have a lot to learn but keep in mind that none of us started out knowing everything and it took us time to get where we are now. Use this and other sites to educate yourself on how your credit is assessed so you're better equipped to make the decisions and definitely ask questions.
JamesMS wrote:Just remember to use the card(s) wisely, do not max out and do not pay late.
Definitely do not pay late. 100% of payments must be on time. Not 99%. Not 99.99999%. 100%.
"Do not max out" is a very low bar. Do not allow more than 30% to report. You can manage reported balances by paying down the card before the date it reports. Most cards report on statement date but you need to confirm specifically when your cards report. You can ask your creditors or look at your credit reports for the last report date.
You do not need to carry a balance for scoring purposes. Pay in full.